Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday named the head of Department of Natural Resources as his new chief of staff.

John R. Griffin, 66, will take over for Matthew Gallagher, who will leave the administration at the end of May to lead the Goldseker Foundation.

O'Malley described Griffin as " the heart and soul of Maryland’s environmental agenda" in a release announcing the appointment. 

Griffin began in the Department of Natural resources in 1984 as a deputy secretary. He served as secretary the first time from 1995-1997 under former Gov. Parris Glendening and took over the role a second time in 2007 under the O'Malley administration.